Crime History, January 29, 1991: Texas cheerleader mom hires hitman to get rid of rival

Wanda Holloway

On this day, Jan. 29, in 1991, Wanda Holloway, a Houston-area mother of an aspiring cheerleader, attempted to hire a hitman to kill the mother of her daughter’s cheerleading rival.

The story became a media sensation, spawning several movies and earning Holloway the nickname the Texas “Pom-Pom Mom.”

In a state consumed with football and beauty pageants, Holloway came up with a twisted plot to see her daughter make the junior high school cheerleader squad.

Holloway had hoped that the rival daughter would become so overwhelmed by grief over the death of her mother that she would drop from the team and her spot would be awarded to Holloway’s 13-year-old daughter.

Holloway approached her former brother-in-law, Terry Harper, an unemployed pipefitter with a long criminal record, and asked her to get rid of the rival cheerleader mom.

Instead, Harper went to the police and he was then equipped by detectives with a hidden microphone.

Harper asked Holloway, “You want her dead?”

She replied: “I don’t care what you do with her. You can keep her in Cuba for 15 years. I want her gone.”

As a down payment, she handed him $2,000 diamond earrings.

Holloway pleaded no contest to solicitation of murder and served six months behind bars.

— Scott McCabe

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